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Geothermal Hot Springs

Geothermal Hot Springs Day Trip with Murex Resorts


Indonesia has more volcanoes than any other country on the planet due to its unique positioning combined with the vast size of the country. Indonesia is positioned between two continental plates: the Sahul Shelf and the Sunda Plate; and between two oceanic plates: the Pacific Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate.


The tectonics processes in Indonesia formed major structures in Indonesia – including fault lines and volcanoes. The Palu-Koro fault is a major structural feature formed in the central part of Indonesia. This fault runs across the central part of Sulawesi Island and extends offshore to the west across Makassar Strait and ends in the Mangkalihat Peninsula in Borneo. 

Geothermal Activity in Indonesia Explained

Geothermal Hot Springs


Geothermal reservoirs are naturally occurring areas of hydrothermal resources. These reservoirs are deep underground and are largely undetectable above ground. Geothermal energy finds its way to the Earth’s surface in five ways:

The most active geothermal resources are usually found along major tectonic plate boundaries where most volcanoes are located – this is central to understanding how Indonesia’s positioning has resulted in so many volcanoes and hot springs!

When magma comes near the earth’s surface, it heats groundwater trapped in porous rock or water running along fractured rock surfaces and faults. Hydrothermal features have two common ingredients: Water (hydro) and Heat (thermal).

Hot Springs and Magma



Magma is molten rock under the Earth’s surface. When magma reaches Earth’s surface it is called lava. Magma is extremely hot with temperatures between 700° and 1,300° Celsius (1,292° and 2,372° Fahrenheit). Hot temperatures cause the mantle and rock in the center of the Earth to melt and form magma.


When rocks and water come in contact with magma they heat. For every 1,000 feet of depth, groundwater is heated an additional 15° Fahrenheit. As that water heats, it expands in volume and becomes less dense. This hot, less dense water then rises through cracks and faults in the Earth’s crust forming hot springs. There are some areas on Earth called hot spots where magma is close enough to the surface of the Earth to provide a heat source.

1. Geysers

Sometimes hot springs can eject a spray of steam and boiling water into the air called a geyser. Geysers form near areas of volcanic activity. Magma heats the water to extreme temperatures. The superheated water rises near the surface. When this happens, the pressure of the water drops, and the boiling point of the water is exceeded. The extremely hot water flashes into a forceful steam that comes gushing out of the hot spring.

2. Mud Pots

Mud pots are features formed when acidic standing water dissolves surrounding rock into clay. Mud pots are usually found in areas with lower pH levels and low water conditions. Gas or water vapor in these areas is heated by underground volcanic activity. The heated water pushes through the mud creating bubbles on the surface.

3. Underwater Hydrothermal Vents

Close to Bangka Island, there are several dive sites that have underwater hot springs. Water is heated up by geothermal activity within the earth’s crust and this water is pushed out through a hydrothermal vent. The vent is a fissure in the planet’s surface from which geothermally heated water escapes. Hydrothermal vents exist because the earth is both geologically active and has large amounts of water on its surface and within its crust.


The areas around submarine hydrothermal vents are biologically more productive, often hosting complex communities fuelled by the chemicals dissolved in the vent fluids. Chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea form the base of the food chain, supporting diverse organisms, including giant tube worms, clams, limpets, and shrimp.

Volcanoes, Hot Springs & Mud Pots in North Sulawesi

Geothermal Minahasan Tour Murex


Considering the relatively compact size of North Sulawesi, it is home to 11 volcanoes:

  • Mount Lokon (1,580m)
  • Karangetang (1,827m)
  • Soputan (1,784m)
  • Mount Awu (1,320m)
  • Ambang (1,795m)
  • Mount Mahawu (1,324m)
  • Lokon-Empung (1,580m)
  • Colo (507m)
  • Mount Klabat (1,995m)
  • Mount Empung (1,149m)
  • Mount Tongkok0 (1,149m)

It is due to the volcanic nature of North Sulawesi that there are several hot springs and areas where mud pots can be found.

Where to Find Geothermal Hot Springs In North Sulawesi

Minahasan Tour


There are natural hot springs in the Minahasan highlands that are possible to swim in. The water is very hot and it is always best to test the water with a toe or fingertip before entering – especially if you have younger children with you.


The swimmable hot springs are similar to small lakes or large pools and locals will often visit for a therapeutic dip (see below). The majority of these are naturally occurring and have not been commercialized like some of the hot spring baths found on Indonesia’s Bali Island.

Here are some of the hot springs found in North Sulawesi:

  • Ranopaso Hot Springs (Koya, West Tondano)
  • Toraget Hot Springs and Mud Pots (near Langowan)
  • Pemandian Air Panas CISMAS Hotspring (South Tondano)
  • Waloan Hot Spring (Tomohon)
  • Tumatenden Springs (Airmadidi)
  • Lahendong Pine Forest and Hot Spring (South Tomohon)

Therapeutic Benefits of Hot Springs

There are believed to be multiple health and therapeutic benefits to bathing or swimming in hot springs. Here are 9 purported health benefits of spending time in the hot springs of North Sulawesi:

1. Skin Disorders & Detoxifying

Soaking in hot springs can be a great way to naturally detox your skin. Thanks to the high amount of silica in the water, it can also soften rough or dry skin. Plus, the mineral content of sulfur springs has been shown to help persisting skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, and eczema.

2. Reduce Stress & Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on the body if left unmanaged for too long, significantly reducing the quality of your life. Bathing in a hot spring  – outside and amid nature can have a positive effect on your mental health by combating daily stressors and releasing built-up tension. This can help minimize adverse stress-related health issues.


As for reducing anxiety, submerging yourself in water provides a gentle compression around your entire body, much like a warm hug. This helps release feel-good endorphins that can calm your system and bring feelings of comfort and relaxation.

3. Relaxation

Our world is busier than ever, with each day bombarding us with seemingly endless stressors and stimulation. It’s essential that you find ways to include relaxation in your daily routine, and a visit to the hot springs is a great way to do this!

Embrace the effects of nature’s version of hydrotherapy to enhance your relaxation and support your overall well-being.

4. Better Circulation

As you relax under the warm sulfuric water, your blood vessels will expand, making it easier for blood to move through the body. This will help oxygenate your system more effectively and will allow the blood to move to the muscles that require it the most. Expanding your blood vessels also reduces the work your heart needs to do to pump your blood throughout your body, reducing the strain it’s usually under. This is why people often report feeling rejuvenated after just 20 – 30 minutes in the hot springs.

5. Reduce Inflammation

Our joints are under constant stress as they provide the support our bodies need to perform daily tasks. Our body is carried primarily by our lower backs, hips, knees, and ankles, compacting the joints, which can lead to inflammation. When submerged underwater, you can reduce the weight your joints are under, allowing them to rest, recover, and move more freely.


The buoyancy of the sulfuric water found at the hot springs reduces that pressure and gives your joints time to return to their natural state. Meanwhile, the increased blood flow in your body can aid in their recovery. This sudden lack of compression on your joints helps reduce the inflammation in your body and, when used regularly, can help combat it long-term.

6. Pain Relief

Spending time in the hot springs has shown to have positive effects in relieving pain, including headache relief, and back pain relief, and with regular use, it has even reduced pain experienced in fibromyalgia sufferers.


The naturally hot water from the springs can provide substantial pain relief through the combination of heat, buoyancy, gentle compression, and reduced weight bearing. Local people are known to take a trip to the hot springs to soothe aches and pains regularly. Similar to when having a massage, warming tight muscles induces a more relaxed state.


Due to hot springs assisting with pain relief, reducing inflammation and compression, and allowing users to enjoy an increased range of motion, they are ideal for anyone suffering from arthritis.

7. Faster Recovery

Heat and massage have been shown to positively affect the body’s healing in multiple ways. This can be seen by the increase in hot tubs, saunas, and hydromassage chairs being added to gym and spa offerings globally. Heat increases circulation, which is an important aspect of recovery. It supports better oxygenation of the body and helps with muscle repair through increased blood flow.


Lastly, the heat of the water helps ease muscle stiffness, releasing the tension they experience after a workout or other strenuous activity. This leaves you less stiff and sore the next day, letting you get back into action faster!

8. Lower Blood Pressure

The effects warm water has on the body have been the focus of many studies over the years. Collectively, studies have found that participants who bathed in warm water for extended periods of time experienced a drop in blood pressure. They also discovered participants had positive changes in their cardiovascular health as well.


Essentially, this means when you spend time in a hot springs (or in the tub when you return home), your body experiences a reduction in bodily stress and your heart rate rises, making it stronger over time simply by relaxing in a hot bath!

9. Increased Range Of Motion

Changes to your range of motion can be caused by various things, such as injury, age, or overly tight muscles. As mentioned above, hot springs help release the tension in your body, relaxing muscles that have been flexed and tightened for extended periods of time.


This release helps increase your range of motion by allowing you to move your body more naturally, free from the tension causing your range to be shortened. It’s no wonder that the people of North Sulawesi stay fit and active well into their older years with such a valuable commodity on hand!!


Minahasan Highlands and Hot Spring Tour

Minahasan Tour at Murex - Geothermal


Here in North Sulawesi, we offer a fascinating tour of the Minahasan Highlands. There are multiple places to visit including places of cultural interest, traditional villages and markets, historical sites, volcano trekking, North Sulawesi’s largest crater lake (Tondano), natural beauty hot spots, viewing points – and of course, hot springs!


We recommend visiting Toraget Hot Springs and Mud Pots (near Langowan). Toraget Hot Spring is a medium-sized natural pool surrounded by trees and fields. The water temperature is around 143 degrees Fahrenheit / 62 degrees Celsius.


In the area surrounding the hot spring pool, there are mud pots. The ground is primarily hard, baked clay, however in places the clay is a thick liquid, steaming and bubbling as it boils away. These mud pots are extremely hot. Stand well back and do not try to test the temperature!


Our Highland Tour is a full-day tour and if you would like to include a visit to some hot springs, let us know. We tailor make our tours around your interests and there is plenty of time to see numerous sites and do a number of activities.


Our friendly and professional Tour Guides are all English-speaking and have a wealth of local knowledge to share with you!


Ready to experience the geothermal wonders of North Sulawesi for yourself? Watch this video for a final dose of inspiration, then book your Minahasan Highlands Tour today!

Book Your Next North Sulawesi Adventure

Family holiday to Indonesia


Are you planning your 2024 holidays? For reservations and inquiries, contact us – our reservations team is here to help you with your travel plans and logistics.

You may also want to download our rates and check out our promo page!

We look forward to welcoming you to North Sulawesi and Murex Resorts soon.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading this Blog you may also enjoy some of our other recent articles:

Taking A Family Holiday To Indonesia

Murex Bangka’s Coral Farm – Become An Ocean Gardener

Diving Holiday: Discovering Underwater Paradise In North Sulawesi


Dive, Snorkel and Explore More with us in beautiful North Sulawesi.

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